Your most fragrant plants by ranking

South West, LA(Zone 9a)

I would love to hear your favorites! Im new so my list is short but you can be sure its growing by the day!
My #1 Is Tea olive it is by far the most yummy smelling plant Ive grown yet.
Murraya paniculata
Four O'clocks
Sweet Acacia
Meyer Lemon
Pandora Vine
I do have others but they havnt bloomed so I can't rank them yet. :(

What are your Favorites and where do they place?

Barnesville, GA(Zone 8a)

Gee, this is tough! I may have to play with this list a bit.

Gingers as #1!
Tea Olive
Banana Shrub (M. Skinneria)
Black Locust Tree
Winter Honeysuckle
My Wisteria
Lily 'Casablanca'
Brugs (especially Star Dancer, Maya & Island Girl and...)
Japanese Pittosporum (Japanese Mock Orange)
Daphne (would be higher on the list if it was bigger)

I'm sure I'm forgetting a lot! I'll be back ;)

Deep South Coastal, TX(Zone 10a)

What is a tea olive? Is it sweet olive?

My most favorite #1 scent is hyacinth and my second is Vanilla Orchid
White butterfly ginger
Jasmine Molle(strong scent, but not overpowering)
Jasmine Maid of Orleans, blooms almost year round here
Tuberose(the single ones, not the double)
Papaya (love the flowers, can't stand the taste of the fruit)
Brugmansia Island Girl
Honeysuckle Pink Lemonade(has a soft gardenia scent)
Confederate Jasmine
Lilacs(too hot for these here)
Casa Blanca Lilies(wish they grew here)
Night blooming jasmine as long as it is not under my nose!
I love citrus flowers, we are surrounded by citrus groves and when they are flowering it smells heavenly for miles around!
I know there are more flowers that I love to smell, I just can't think of them right now.

South West, LA(Zone 9a)

Osmanthus fragrans, Tea olive or Sweet Oilve they are the same. I agree with the Night blooming Jasmine! Its wonderful about one or two yards over but not in mine.

China Spring, TX(Zone 8a)

right now I'm loving my paperwhites and hyacnths. In dec. I loved my osmanthus fragrans. Every month there's a fav. fragrance to admire. My policy is "If it doesn't tantilize my senses, out it goes".. Our lives are too short to be living w/dull dreary plants that don't scream out at our souls. My garden is a wonderful bottle of perfume. I'm shooting for 800 roses around my home, then I'll truly be in heaven. I have fragrant plants everywhere you stick your nose. I love them all. Pretty is nice, but ohhhh, that fragrance gets me every time.

Braselton, GA(Zone 8a)

Can't put mine in any particular order of preference b/c it changes- LOL!

Some of my faves are:
Zephy Drouhin rose
Mr Lincoln rose
OF Vining petunia
4 o'clocks
Stargazer lily
Lemon daylily
Dame's Rocket
Carolina allspice/sweetshrub
snowball viburnum
clethra/sweet pepper bush
rose-scented geranium
marigold foliage
cedar needles

Lincoln, NE(Zone 5b)

grrr... zone envy!

Braselton, GA(Zone 8a)

I envy you too! I LOVE conifers- the types I call 'alpine trees'. You can grow those- I can't. I have tons of red cedars but no spruce, firs, etc... Thank goodness I love cedars or I'd be sheer outta luck!

Albany, OR(Zone 8a)

I totally agree! Why should the south get all the good smells, lol.

I am listing as far as the most, longest smell. There are a lot of flowers/foliage that smell but I like them to smell while walking around my gardens.

Star Jasmine
Honeysuckles-Halls & Goldflame
Veterans Honor rose
Daphne Ordora (if/when it blooms)
Sweet Peas
Lilacs-Miss Kim

Of course, these are the ones I have so far, but..... need more.... craving more....


London, United Kingdom(Zone 9a)

Here are my favourites. I really love the scent of D odora so i guess thatwould have to be my #1; but it's really difficult to place the others, so they aren't in any kind of order rating. I just especially enjoy these.

Daphne odora #1
Daphne bholua cultivars
Brugmansia suaveolens and B.aurea and many cultivars
Mandevilla laxa
Jasminum sambac
Mitriostigma axillare
Gardenia cultivars
Aglaia odorata
Hoya macgillivrayi, H. sp. Chiang Mai and many others
Michelia champaca, M. alba, M figo
Rosa banksiae alba (smells of sweet violets)
Rosa 'Arthur Bell'
Osmanthus fragrans
Rhododendron nuttallii
Rhododendron 'Fragrantissimum'
Rhododendron lindleyi and many others
Vireya Rhododendron konori
Vireya Rhododendron dianthosmum
Vireya Rhododendron superbum
Pamianthe peruvianum
Hyacinthus cultivars
Lilium regale
Lilium candidum
Lonicera x americana
Magnolia grandiflora
Magnolia x wieseneri
Erysimum varieties -wallflowers
Epiphyllum oxypetallum and E. crenatum
Selenicereus grandiflorus
Buddleja asiatica
Clerodendron fragrans
Chimonanthus praecox
Murraya paniculata
Rhynchostylis gigantea (orchid)
Neofineta falcata (orchid)
Brassavola nodosa (orchid)
Telosma cordata
Bouvardia longiflora
Brunfelsia americana
Acacia retinodes
Hymenosporum flavum

Deep South Coastal, TX(Zone 10a)

I completely forgot about brunfelsia americana! I have two pots of this beside a bench in the garden.

Braselton, GA(Zone 8a)

I must confess I am impressed with your list..... and have no idea what a lot of them are, sadly. Why is it you "across the ponders" have the most exotic and beautiful sounding plant names? LOL!

But seriously thanks for the list as I am always looking for something new to try. I'm off to research. Hope some of this is avail here in the states.

Lincoln, NE(Zone 5b)

You have no idea what I would give to grow Gardenia, Stephanotis and Jasmine. Maybe someday when I have a greenhouse....

But for now, the favorites that I grow are ~

Oriental lilies, have many varieties, all are wonderful
Lily Of The Valley
Basil "Dark Opal"
Lavender "Munsted"
Sweet grass, Hierochloe odorata
(not recommended; quite homely and very invasive if not contained)

Braselton, GA(Zone 8a)

LOL!Hope this makes you feel better: I can't grow gardenia either- seems I'm just a wee bit too far North. I can't grow *most* lavender or lilacs- too hot here. BTW, I have read that gardenias do quite well as houseplants- ever tried it?

Lincoln, NE(Zone 5b)

No, but have tried jasmine. Too dry in the house (I don't have a humidifier) and honestly don't care to try that hard. ;)

As much as I love them, I don't do plants that need to be babied. "Do or die" around here!

Lee's Summit, MO(Zone 6a)

Mine would be:

Stargazer lilys
my pink un-named brug

I can't think of them all at the moment!

Saint Augustine, FL(Zone 9a)

Berrygirl, have you tried to grow gardenia and failed? Try again! I live north of Charlotte on the border between zone 7b and almost to 7a and I have about a dozen gardenias that have been thriving since they were planted six years ago (by the previous resident). I don't know the name of the large ones (about 5' tall and have orange ridged hips), but my smaller ones look like Radicans. I did kill one that I planted last year in afternoon sun/no irrigation; don't do that. They happy ones get about 3-4 hours of sun a day, and they are all on drip irrigation, which they get 20 minutes every morning.

Braselton, GA(Zone 8a)

Yep I gave up b/c they were too $$$ to be annuals- LOL!
I am thinking of it though.

Bucyrus, OH(Zone 6a)

Berrygirl, try Kleim's hardy gardenia . ;) Big Dipper Farms lists Kleim's Hardy as being hardy to zone 5, although I suspect it will need some sheltering in a microclimate for my region (I am trying it this spring.)

In your case, I would check the soil where you are trying to plant the gardenia, then take into consideration the exposure the plant receives to winter wind and precipitation, as well as summer heat. I would consider a foundation planting on the east side of your house, so the plant would get morning sun, and shelter from the north and west winter winds.

In zone 7b you should be able to grow more than just the hardy variety of gardenia. With a little forethought you should probably be able to grow just about any variety hardy to zone 8b. :)


Braselton, GA(Zone 8a)

I grew the gardenias in my front beds where my azaleas are. It is up against my front porch and is protected from wind and too much sun. In the summer the area gets morning sun only. I believe I did try Kleims Hardy but it died. I am going to try to find a small one and plant it to see if I will have more success with it.
Thanks for your help!

Mystic, CT(Zone 6b)

Here are mine in order of strength of scent - strongest to weakest:

Festiva Maxima Peony

Honeysuckle "Belgica"


Rosa Heritage

Rosa Autumn Damask

Rosa Louise Odier

Rosa Fantin-Latour

Rosa Albertine

Viburnum Carlesii

Philadelphus "Innocence"

Rosa Chapeau de Napoleon ( Crested Moss Rose)

Sweet Pea Matucana

Sweet Pea Cupani

Rosa In the Good Old Summertime

Iris Codicil

Bucyrus, OH(Zone 6a)


You might want to do yourself a favor and get the soil tested at the site where you plan on planting your gardenias. If a plant is compatible to your zone, and you haven't experienced unusual weather, I suspect the problem is not the plant, but the planting medium.

All you might need to grow some large, healthy bushes might be some soil augmentation.


Braselton, GA(Zone 8a)

Thanks Joe!

I had mentioned in my list the 2 fragrant roses that I have. If you don't grow either Mr Lincoln or Zepherine Drouhin roses, I would strongly urge you to try them!! The bonus with Zephy is that she grows in shade and has no thorns!

Bucyrus, OH(Zone 6a)

COOOOL :) Thank you much for your advise! I'll add them this spring. :)


Noblesville, IN(Zone 5a)

Two I love are Rosemary and Vicks plant. The smell great when you run your fingers thru them. I have a Russian Sage also that is nice.

crossville, TN(Zone 7a)

I'm so jealous!!! I've been lusting after so many of the plants you guys have listed! My puny little gardens are still just basic. I want to work on the "smelling" this year. You have given my some great ideas. I'd love to have some of the old fashion sweet peas my grandma had. They were wonderful.


oiartzun-near san se, Spain(Zone 8a)

I'm surprised nobody has mentioned lime flowers, from the lime or linden tree (Tilia cordata, I think). This has to be my favourite fragrance, as it is powerful but not sickly or overpowering, and it has definite calming effects. There was a huge old linden tree growing outside the 400 year house I lived in while at university in SW England, and I swear the perfume of its flowers inhaled deeply every morning before going to campus to take final exams helped me to pass my degree! I sat under it to do my revision too. I still drink lime-flower tea for its calming effects and pleasant aroma - here it is served in all bars and cafes and is a welcome change from coffee, which is delicious but anything but calming...
Another favourite is orange blossom, (called "azahar" here), similar in effect to lime flower. I don't live far enough south to be in the orange-growing areas, but I do have an orange tree and a lemon tree (another wonderful fragrance), in large pots on the patio; if only they would flower more!
Also in pots on the patio are Regal lilies, which get pulled up next to the sun bed when in flower - heavenly.
I have English lavender bushes growing on either side of the garden steps so they get brushed as I go past and release their fragrance. ( I also have thyme and oregano growing ON the steps so I get the aroma as I tread on them - they survive this rough treatment very well).
In the conservatory at the moment, filling the room with their sweetness, I have hyacinths, small, highly-perfumed, pale pink cyclamen,(sorry, don't know the variety), a tiny winter jasmine I've just bought and several rose geranium plants - the biggest by the door so it gets get the idea!
This should keep me going until the wallflowers start blooming in Spring, then my Old garden roses Mme Isaac Pereire, Gloire de Dijon, Cornelia and Penelope (Pembertons), Rosa rugosa Scabrosa (ugly name, beautiful flowers and scent), Rosa muscosa centifolia....oh and Meg Merrilees, a scarlet-flowered eglantyne rose with delicious apple-scented foliage.....
I think I'd better stop there, but not without mentioning the pink-flowered sweet violets (Viola odorata rosea),which are blooming now on the patio table, and which entice me to drink my afternoon coffee,(or lime flower tea),outside on the sunbed, even in temperatures below 10 C and with snow on the hills.....
Maggi xxxx

Mystic, CT(Zone 6b)

Maggi- your description is making me quite jealous! The heady perfumes you've described sound so luscious.

oiartzun-near san se, Spain(Zone 8a)

Well, I did only mention the best bits. If I had headed down the garden to the compost heap and the chicken run, you would have been green with something quite other than envy, I promise you! ;D
Maggi xxxx

Seattle, WA

My Most Fragrant:

1) Nicotiana Sylvestris - it has an aroma of Jasmine

2) Sweet Woodruff - Fresh hay and vanilla

3) Joe Pye Weed - Vanilla

4) A groundcover - has an aroma of tangerines

5) Chocolate Cosmos - the name says it

6) Sweet Peas

7) Virginia Stock

8) Cosmos - smell like Apple tree blossoms

9) Lavendar

College Park, MD(Zone 7a)

here is the list of the flowers that I have for their fragrance.
carolina jasmine
pawlonia or vanilla custard tree
rose zeriphine drouhain
rose don juan
several of david austin roses.
lilly of the valley
star blazer lillies
brassavola nodosa
bay magnolia
witch hazel
and of course the night blooming jasmine , I had one and it died I would love to find a source so I can have one again, it was my favorite for my porch I miss it .....

Hagerstown, MD(Zone 6b)

Orchidfancy, you can grow night blooming jasmine from seed easily. If you would like a few seeds to try I have a few to spare. Just D-mail me if interested.

I wanted to chime in with a few of my favorites.

-Stargazer Lilies (have them planted everywhere there is a window or
-Brugs (especially maya)
-Roses (DA more than most)
-Vigna Carracalla (corkscrew flower)
-Gardenia (when I can keep them in bloom)
-Bolvardia (white)
-Brunfelsia americana
And one I haven't seen mentioned yet
- Cestrum Diumum? (chocolate cestrum) wonderful smell of chocolate

South West, LA(Zone 9a)

Cestrum Diumum sounds intresting where did you find it? When I finish my 12mth fragrant garden a Chocolate garden is next on my list. Do you have other Choc. plants?

Mystic, CT(Zone 6b)

Doesn't Akebia vine smell like chocolate?

Hagerstown, MD(Zone 6b)

Caren, I ordered the seeds from Tops Tropicals. I am hoping to root some cuttings this spring and summer once some new growth starts appearing. Chocolate garden sounds wonderful. You will have to get Cocoa mulch for it. No, I don't have any other chocolate plants but I love this cestrum.

Deep South Coastal, TX(Zone 10a)

I'm going to have to quit coming back to this thread! My want list keeps growing!

Barnesville, GA(Zone 8a)

You and me both--but for now it's just a dream list until I find a job :(

Ottawa, ON(Zone 5a)

I'm new to this forum, although I've been on DG for a year... how could I have missed this one!?

Most of my favourites are determined by what I can grow in this northerly climate. Apart from spring bulbs, lilies, etc. and lilacs, honeysuckle and other shrubs, my faves include some that I didn't see in previous posts:

Reseda ordorata (mignonette)*
Matthiola bicornis (night-scented stock)*

*I grow these from seed each year.

We have a mass of chokecherry which is intoxicating for about 2 weeks during its spring bloom. And there's a linden just outside my kitchen, how lucky!

I also like the smell of fresh herbs, so I grow them not only for culinary use but also for sweeping my had through the leaves -- tarragon and basil in particular.

South West, LA(Zone 9a)

Hi Andy,
you said you grow Reseda ordorata from seed every year, do you direct seed or start in pots? I have tried to start them in peat pots and havnt had much luck yet. They come up but die shortly after. I must be doing something they don't like. Ya got any pointers?

Ottawa, ON(Zone 5a)


I start them indoors in March or so, in ProMix (a soil-less growing medium) and put them out in May or so. I tried direct seeding these once and didn't get anything.

For starting the seed, I sow into 4" pots and then prick out the seedlings when they have true leaves, into cube paks and then into the garden. I start most small-seeded plants this way (I got it from Crockett). Larger seed I put right into the cube paks. I put some seedlings under lights if they tend to get leggy. And beware of damping-off. I never cover germinating seeds or seedlings with plastic, to prevent this; I also use NoDamp, either as a spray or a drench.

Mignonette was my grandmother's favourite garden scent; apparently Marie-Antoinette liked it too. It smells like crushed raspberries, good enough to eat. Good luck!

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